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Thread: Apospasmata Thread

  1. #721
    Orlanda paddy honey's Avatar
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    Default Mary Webb - Gone to earth

    It was only at midsummer that the windows were coloured by dawn and sunset; then they had a sanguinary aspect, staring into the delicate skyey dramas like blind, bloodshot eyes. Secretly, under the heavy rhododendron leaves and in the furtive sunlight beneath the yew-trees, gnats danced. Their faint motions made the garden stiller; their smallness made it oppressive; their momentary life made it infinitely old. Then Undern Pool was full of leaf shadows like multitudinous lolling tongues, and the smell of the mud tainted the air—half sickly, half sweet. The clipped bushes and the twisted chimneys made inky shadows like steeples on the grass, and great trees of roses, beautiful in desolation, dripped with red and white and elbowed the guelder roses and the elders set with white patens. Cherries fell in the orchard with the same rich monotony, the same fatality, as drops of blood. They lay under the fungus-riven trees till the hens ate them, pecking gingerly and enjoyably at their lustrous beauty as the world does at a poet's heart. In the kitchen-garden also the hens took their ease, banqueting sparely beneath the straggling black boughs of a red-currant grove. In the sandstone walls of this garden hornets built undisturbed, and the thyme and lavender borders had grown into forests and obliterated the path. The cattle drowsed in the meadows, birds in the heavy trees; the golden day-lilies drooped like the daughters of pleasure; the very principle of life seemed to slumber. It was then, when the scent of elder blossom, decaying fruit, mud and hot yew brooded there, that the place attained one of its most individual moods—narcotic, aphrodisiac.

    (...)

    She went on, regardless of direction. At last she found an old pasture where heavy farm-horses looked round at her over their polished flanks and a sad-eyed foal rose to greet her. There she found button mushrooms to her heart's content. Ancient hedges hung above the field and spoke to her in fragrant voices. The glory of the may was just giving place to the shell-tint of wild-roses. She reached up for some, and her hair fell down; she wisely put the remaining pins in the bag for the return journey. She was intensely happy, as a fish is when it plunges back into the water. For these things, and not the God-fearing comfort of the Mountain, nor the tarnished grandeur of Undern, were her life. She had so deep a kinship with the trees, so intuitive a sympathy with leaf and flower, that it seemed as if the blood in her veins was not slow-moving human blood, but volatile sap. She was of a race that will come in the far future, when we shall have outgrown our egoism—the brainless egoism of a little boy pulling off flies' wings. We shall attain philosophic detachment and emotional sympathy. We have even now far outgrown the age when a great genius like Shakespeare could be so clumsy in the interpretation of other than human life. We have left behind us the bloodshot centuries when killing was the only sport, and we have come to the slightly more reputable times when lovers of killing are conscious that a distinct effort is necessary in order to keep up 'the good old English sports.' Better things are in store for us. Even now, although the most expensively bound and the most plentiful books in the stationers' shops are those about killing and its thousand ramifications, nobody reads them. They are bought at Christmas for necessitous relations and little boys.

    Hazel, in the fields and woods, enjoyed it all so much that she walked in a mystical exaltation.

  2. #722
    Orlanda paddy honey's Avatar
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    Default Samuel Beckett - Molloy

    And I said there was little likelihood of my being molested and that it was more likely I should molest them, if they saw me.
    Morning is the time to hide. They wake up, hale and hearty, their tongues hanging out for order, beauty and justice, baying for their due. Yes, from eight or nine till noon is the dangerous time. But towards noon things quiet down, the most implacable are sated, they go home, it might have been better but
    they’ve done a good job, there have been a few survivors, but they’ll
    give no more trouble., each man counts his rats. It may begin again
    in the early afternoon, after the banquet, the celebrations, the congratulations, the orations, but it’s nothing compared to the morning, mere fun. Coming up to four or five of course there is the night-shift, the watchmen, beginning to bestir themselves. But al- ready the day is over, the shadows lengthen, the walls multiply, you hug the walls, bowed down like a good boy, oozing with obsequiousness, having nothing to hide, hiding from mere terror, looking neither right nor left, hiding but not provocatively, ready to come out, to smile, to listen, to crawl, nauseating but not pestilent,
    less rat than toad. Then the true night, perilous too, but sweet to him who knows it, who can open to it like the flower to the sun, who himself is night, day and night. No there is not much to be said for the night either, but compared to the day there is much to be said for it, and notably compared to the morning there is everything to be said for it. For the night purge is in the hands of technicians, for the most part. They do nothing else, the bulk of the
    population have no part in it, preferring their warm beds, all things considered. Day is the time for lynching, for sleep is sacred, and especially the morning, between breakfast and lunch. My first care then, after a few miles in the desert dawn, was to look for a place
    to sleep, for sleep too is a kind of protection, strange as it may
    seem. For sleep, if it excites the lust to capture, seems to appease
    the lust to kill, there and then and bloodily, any hunter will tell you that. For the monster on the move, or on the watch, lurking in
    his lair, there is no mercy, whereas he taken unawares, in his sleep,
    may sometimes get the benefit of milder feelings, which deflect the
    barrel r’.,eathe the kris. For the hunter is weak at heart and senti- mental, overflowing with repressed treasures of gentleness and compassion. And it is thanks to this sweet sleep of terror or exhaustion
    that many a foul beast, and worthy of extermination, can live on
    till he dies in the peace and quiet of our zoological gardens, broken
    only by the innocent laughter, the knowiife laughter, of children and
    their elders, on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
    And I for my part have always preferred slavery to death, I mean being put to death.
    For death is a condition I have never been able to conceive to my
    satisfaction and which therefore cannot go down in the ledger of
    weal and woe. Whereas my notions on being put to death inspired
    me with confidence, rightly or wrongly, and I felt I was entitled to act on them, in certain emergencies. Oh they weren’t notions like yours, they were notions like mine, all spasm, sweat and trembling,
    without an atom of common sense or lucidity. But they were the
    best I had. Yes, the confusion of my ideas on the subject of death was such that I sometimes wondered, believe me or not, if it wasn’t a state of being even worse than life. So I found it natural not to rush into it and, when I forgot myself to the point of trying, to stop in time. It’s my only excuse.

    Spoiler

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